The drive for gender inclusion and women empowerment in Nigeria received a boost at the recently held premiere of ‘Earth Women’, a poignant docudrama that explores the plight of women living in areas impacted by extractive activities, including oil and gas exploration and mining. The Earth Women launch was held alongside the third Community and Human Rights (CAHR) Awards, which honours individuals and organisations contributing selflessly to community development and inclusion in Africa; both initiatives of CSR-in-Action Advocacy, the development-focused arm of the CSR-in-Action Group.
According to Bekeme Masade-Olowola, CSR-in-Action’s chief executive and Earth Women’s executive producer, who visualised the concept for the documentary, “when natural disasters occur, women suffer immensely because their sources of livelihood are threatened, and they often do not have control over what happens to them in such situations. Nevertheless, women continue to thrive and find better ways to survive. But we want to use these powerful visuals to change that narrative.”
Earth Women, produced by CSR-in-Action Advocacy, part of the CSR-in-Action Group, which was founded by Masade-Olowola 11 years ago, and is now a foremost sustainability consulting and advocacy outfit, was primarily funded by Ford Foundation, the international organisation which supports social justice, and has Ego Boyo, veteran thespian, and Meka Olowola, communication expert, as co-executive producers. Other funders include CSR-in-Action Consulting, Zenera Consulting and Access Bank.
“Wherever you find benefits in the form of natural resources, you find women and girls unfairly excluded from conversations around these resources. Women continue to be marginalised in both formal and informal spaces,” said Funke Baruwa, country director, West Africa for Ford Foundation.
“However, we are really happy that women continue to challenge this marginalisation and continue to push through to make sure that our voices are heard.”
“We are supporting organisations like CSR-in-Action because we believe that supporting them will help in identifying gaps and driving programs and strategies that address challenges that women face in the extractive sector,” Baruwa added.
The ‘SITEI-Woman’ project, a series of initiatives targeted at empowering women, especially those impacted by the extractive industries in Nigeria, which is an offshoot of the 10-year-old Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) Initiative, of CSR-in-Action which is aimed at fostering fiscal and social justice for communities with oil and gas and mining resources.
According to Meka Olowola who is the chairman, SITEI Organising Committee, the SITEI-Woman initiative is a platform for driving social justice for women and promoting gender inclusion.
“Through SITEI-Woman, we want to help deconstruct some of the paradigms that have kept women away from vital decisions that have an overarching impact on their lives, especially with regards to resources available in extractive communities. We believe that empowered women will lead to peaceful and prosperous communities,” he added.
Veteran Nollywood star, Ego Boyo, ended the screening by enjoining institutions to join in the crusade started by CSR-in-Action, saying: “I remember Bekeme sending me a document that said the objective is to ‘positively traumatise’ leaders into taking action, and I think that from the gasps I heard during the screening, this goal has been met”. She further asked guests to visit the SITEI website to sign up to the gender mainstreaming recommendations and to contribute to the $500 million fund being raised for an access-to-market platform for local female (and male) miners.